Thursday, February 10, 2005

Back on the block...

Venting spleen is an obligatory part of PhD candidacy it seems. Anyway, apologies for those who have visited this site lately for dispassionate information professionally presented. I didn't have it in me...the rest is sub judice (further confirming my early conclusions that Kaupapa Maori and Participatory Action Research are both anathema to modern corporate research as personified (well, corporations are people too) by the CoRE.

So here's some info. Two Summer Scholarship students - Moana Boyd and Chuckie van Schravendijk - did present at the CoRE Conference held at Lincoln campus. Chuckie (one of my MAST 319 students in 2004) spoke on a wide range of historical features of Maori horticulture. Most interesting, she and Huia Pacey (a Master's student here at Lincoln) have begun piecing together the story of a trek undertaken by HD Skinner along the Mokau River some time ago. Skinner noted the regular appearance of potato in the menu (like all clever Imperialists, he used the brothers to lug his luggage), fetched from plots hidden along the trail.

Moana outlined the institutional framework in which Maori horticulture operates. This work has some implications for my own research, although I have a broader conception of what constitutes an institute. I hope to post more details of their work but may be restricted to summarising their powerpoint demo's (I'm assuming they are likewise required to clear communications with the Mugwump or Das Rottweiler).

Some interesting stuff that purports to debunk the Sacred Saint of Organic Crop Protection, namely Rachel Carson, has recently been published on the wire. I haven't tracked the original references but it's interesting stuff, agreed? Of course, the importance of minimising pesticide use remains. My research is indicating that sustainability for Maori horticulture originates in the nemesis of sustainability, ie profit. If Maori growers cannot sustain the business side (the Bottom Line), then the other two lines (social and environmental) are largely irrelevant. Hence the importance of our one irreducible angle: niche marketing on the basis of our ethnicity which can't help but play on racist, essentialist arguments...Rousseau's Noble Savage, tinged green by ecocentric (mis)interpretations of indigenous peoples. (Check out this interesting review on a book by now retired Kiwi anthropologist,Roger Sandall's 'The Culture Cult', published 2001). Well, that's me for now. Congrats to Kelly Barnes for handing in; me and Vern Pere will shout beers next time we all meet! Ka kite!!
Simon Lambert

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